Qatari football legend Khalid Salman, a veteran of two AFC Asian Cups in 1984 and 1988, recognizes the significance of the upcoming AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 for both players and fans. Salman, an attacking midfielder who played a pivotal role in his team's campaigns, believes that participating in the Asian Cup is an honor for any footballer, offering the opportunity to make history and bring joy to millions.
Reflecting on his experiences, Salman emphasized the unique feeling of playing in front of a home crowd, a sentiment that he believes will make the next edition of the tournament especially special for the Qatari players. Qatar, the reigning champions, will begin their journey to defend their title in Group A against China PR, Lebanon, and Tajikistan at the iconic Lusail Stadium on January 12.
Salman acknowledged the historic achievement of Qatar's 2019 AFC Asian Cup victory, expressing that while replicating such success is challenging, he believes the players, if focused, can attain glory once again, this time in front of their home crowd.
With the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 set to be played across nine stadiums, seven of which hosted matches during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Salman sees great symbolism in hosting the tournament just over a year after the successful World Cup. He praised Qatar's ability to bring people together and break down differences during the World Cup, highlighting the upcoming Asian Cup as another opportunity for Qatar to showcase its prowess in hosting large sporting events.
Salman, who scored three goals in his two Asian Cup appearances, expressed his desire to still be playing and donning the national team's jersey. However, he looks forward to joining fellow Qataris in the stands, cheering on the team in what he anticipates will be the best Asian Cup to date.